Ireland gets €2m Olympic boost

Ireland’s 2016 Olympic ambitions have received a €2 million cash injection that will allow sports to fund acclimatisation camps, meet competition costs and, in some cases, provide extra equipment for athletes targeting the Games in Brazil.

Ireland gets €2m Olympic boost

Minister for State for Sport and Tourism, Michael Ring, announced the extra funds yesterday, as well as a grant of €80,000 which will allow Special Olympics Ireland relocate from rented accommodation to the Sports Campus at Abbotstown.

The first €1m set aside for camps follows on from similar grants awarded a year out from previous Olympic Games and has already been dispersed to 18 organisations of whom Paralympics Ireland, with €188,154, were the largest recipients.

That money will fund a camp at their pre-Games base in Uberlandia, Brazil. Athletics Ireland (€138,008) and Swim Ireland (€30,765) are funding team camps in Florida while the Irish Sailing Association (€70,000) will have a team base in Rio itself.

“We got word after the Budget about an additional million for Rio, so the way that was expended was to go back to the performance directors and ask them for fixed costs in their performance plans for 2015, that they could expend this year,” said the Irish Sports Council’s Paul McDermott. “That was the condition.”

The knock-on effect is there will be more money to expend in 2015, though this will also have to be subsumed into existing high-performance plans and thereby meet the strict criteria established by the Government and the Sports Council.

An extra million was sourced from the Capital Sports Programme and that has allowed a number of sports take delivery of specialised equipment, such as boats for the rowers and sailors and physiological tracking equipment for the hockey teams. “It’s fantastic news,” said McDermott.

Preparations for the Games are ongoing and yesterday also saw the unveiling of 17 ‘team leaders’ who will be recognised by the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) and are to have overall responsibility for their sport’s performance at the 2016 Games.

The chosen men and women are, for the most part, performance directors in their sport — among them Kevin Ankrom in athletics, Peter Banks in swimming and James O’Callaghan in sailing — and will work with overall chef de mission, Kevin Kilty.

Sports without a performance director were asked to nominate a team leader. Paul McGinley will assume the role for golf while Connacht boxing branch president Joseph Hennigan is the designated man for Ireland’s boxers.

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